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Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student


Terrorist detainees face mistreatment

NEW YORK -- Some of the Middle Eastern men jailed in the terror investigation are complaining that they have been held in solitary confinement, stripped, blindfolded, roughed up and deprived of sleep. \n"I was treated worse than an animal," Yazeed Al-Salmi, a former housemate of one of the hijackers, said after he was released this month from the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Al-Salmi, a Saudi living in California, said he and others were stripped and videotaped. \nFederal authorities have denied any pattern of abuse against the more than 1,000 people being held. \nLike Al-Salmi, the men are being held, sometimes in solitary, on material-witness warrants, immigration violations or other charges while authorities determine whether they have links to terrorism or any information that can advance the investigation. \nThe government has said the roundup is necessary to prevent further attacks and gather vital security information. Most of those detained, the government has said, are not considered terrorists. \nIf any do have terrorist ties, though, they may be under orders to manipulate the U.S. judicial system. A manual circulated among members of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization offers this instruction: Once in custody, a person should complain loudly and repeatedly that he is being abused. \nAs many as 100 people are being held in federal lockups in New York City as part of the investigation. \nBureau of Prisons spokeswoman Linda Smith said the accusations against guards in New York are unsubstantiated. \nThe guards have been "hand-picked for their professional maturity," Smith said. The jails give Muslim prisoners access to lawyers, prayer rugs, copies of the Quran and meals that follow Islamic dietary laws, she added. \n The American Civil Liberties Union has demanded the Justice Department reveal more about who the prisoners are and why they are being held. \n The information should be released "to assure the American public that the government's investigation is both thorough and fair," ACLU official Anthony Romero wrote in a recent letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft. \nSeveral immigrant groups, along with the Association of Pakistani Physicians in North America and the Center for Constitutional Rights, called on the government to provide more information about the detainees and greater assurances of safe treatment. \nThe identities of many of those detained are not being released by the government. The only glimpse of life behind bars has come from a few prisoners who have either been released or made appearances in open court. \nOsama Awadallah, a Jordanian college student from San Diego, was held as a material witness for a month before he was charged Oct. 19 with lying to a grand jury about whether he knew one of the hijackers. Guards at the federal lockup in Manhattan have kept him from sleeping and "roughed him up," said his attorney, Jesse Berman.

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